Feeds

Last.fm unveils 'free global jukebox'

Three plays, then subscribe

High performance access to file storage

London-based music site Last.fm announced today that it has convinced all four major record labels to let its users listen to their catalogues on demand and for free, worldwide. There's a catch, though - listeners are limited to three plays of a particular song. Last.fm will offer a new subscription package for what it calls "unlimited access".

Simpler arrangements with licensing syndicates CD Baby, IODA and others mean Last.fm has access to songs from 150,000 indie labels too.

It's the first to achieve the feat, and pours salt on the wounds of closest rival Pandora, which cut off international listeners earlier this month. It blamed its inability to cut reasonable licensing deals.

Last.fm was adopted by US media conglomerate CBS for $280m last year. Having a dad with radio 1.0 muscle has clearly done wonders for its negotiating clout.

Users in the UK, US and Germany have immediate access to the new service, with the rest of the world on board in "the coming months".

Universal, Sony BMG, EMI and Warner haven't quite handed over the keys to the kingdom, however. Limits on the licenses mean Last.fm's new jukebox can only allow each track to be streamed to a site member three times before asking them to cough up for a download via affiliate links to iTunes, Amazon and 7digital. After that the song won't be available for streaming, a spokesman said.

To begin with, the majors are putting up 3.5 million songs between them, but not their entire catalogues. Led Zeppelin and The Beatles remain elusive to legal digital music fans, for example.

It'll all be funded by targeted banner ads on the Last.fm website. Attempts to offer free downloads with audio ads before the song by Peter Gabriel's We7 have failed to make a significant impact so far.

Also today, the site announced a new royalty scheme for unsigned acts. Struggling artists will be able to upload their groundbreaking work to Last.fm's servers and pocket a fraction of a penny direct each time it's streamed. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.